The aim of this book is simple: to invite readers to consider what it means to lead a good life, and to offer practical advice, based on the Buddhist teachings, as to how this can be accomplished. In each of more than thirty brief essays, Master Hsing Yun treats a specific moral or ethical issue, using quotations from the rich treasury of the Buddhist scriptures as a point of departure for his discussion. Among the topics he considers are control (...) of the body and of speech, overcoming greed, ending anger, patience under insult, how to manage wealth, how to get along with others, what it means to practice Buddhism, and the blessings and joys of that practice. The Buddhist precepts are introduced as guideposts along this path of liberation, and friendship, gratitude, and service to others are presented as essential elements of a common quest to discover and to embody our innate goodness and humanity. (shrink)
This lucid overview of the Buddhist path takes the perspective of the three "vehicles" of Tibetan Buddhism: the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. While these vehicles are usually presented as a historical development, they are here equated with the attitudes that individuals bring to their Buddhist practice. Basic to them all, however, is the need to understand our own immediate condition. The primary tool for achieving this is meditation, and The Essence of Buddhism serves as a handbook for the (...) various meditative approaches of Buddhist practice. Beginning with the Four Noble Truths, Traleg Rinpoche incorporates the expansive vision of the bodhisattva path and the transformative vision of Tantra. The final chapters present the transcendent view of Mahamudra. This view dispenses with all dualistic fixations and directly realizes the natural freedom of the mind itself. Along the way, the author provides vivid definitions of fundamental concepts such as compassion, emptiness, and Buddha-nature, and answers common questions: Why does Buddhism teach that there is "no self"? Are Buddhist teachings pessimistic? Does Buddhism encourage social passivity? What is the role of sex in Buddhist Tantra? Why is it said that "samsara is nirvana"? Does it take countless lifetimes to attain enlightenment, or can it be achieved in a moment? (shrink)
In Taking the Path of Zen , Robert Aitken provided a concise guide to zazen (Zen meditation) and other aspects of the practice of Zen. In The Mind of Clover he addresses the world beyond the zazen cushions, illuminating issues of appropriate personal and social action through an exploration of the philosophical complexities of Zen ethics. Aitken's approach is clear and sure as he shows how our minds can be as nurturing as clover, which enriches the soil and benefits the (...) environment as it grows. The opening chapters discuss the Ten Grave Precepts of Zen, which, Aitken points out, are "not commandments etched in stone but expressions of inspiration written in something more fluid than water." Aitken approaches these precepts, the core of Zen ethics, from several perspectives, offering many layers of interpretation. Like ripples in a pond, the circles of his interpretation increasingly widen, and he expands his focus to confront corporate theft and oppression, the role of women in Zen and society, abortion, nuclear war, pollution of the environment, and other concerns. The Mind of Clover champions the cause of personal responsibility in modern society, encouraging nonviolent activism based on clear convictions. It is a guide that engages, that invites us to realize our own potential for confident and responsible action. (shrink)
The American Buddhist nun and author of the best-selling When Things Fall Apart counsels readers on how to live compassionately and well during times of instability, demonstrating the use of the Three Commitments practice to promote ...
The comparative study of mysticism and inter-religious spirituality has gained more space in universities and research centers that radiate everywhere. They are also research involving Eastern religions, in its peculiar mystical trait. Also in the context of Buddhism one can talk on spirituality, understood as a search path of liberation. This article presents the theme of Zen Buddhist spirituality based on the reflection of Eihei Dogen Zenji (1200 – 1253), one of the most important and prominent teachers of (...) the Soto Zen Tradition. This text aims to show the richness of spirituality and its peculiarity concerning the everyday reality. To promote understanding of the central question presented, the theme of spirituality was situated within the historical context of the birth of Zen Buddhism and the insertion of the presence of Dogen in its field of action. The theme of Zen spirituality was becoming evident in the approach to the problem of search of the Dharma in Dogen and his attention to small signs of everyday life. Keywords: Spirituality. Buddhism. Zen. Daily life. Religions. Resumo Os estudos de mística comparada e de espiritualidade interreligiosa vão ganhando espaço cada vez mais singular nas universidades e núcleos de pesquisa que se irradiam por toda parte. São pesquisas que envolvem também as religiões orientais, em seu traço místico peculiar. Também no âmbito do budismo pode-se falar em espiritualidade, entendida como um caminho de busca da libertação. Esse artigo visa apresentar o tema da espiritualidade zen budista, com base na reflexão de Eihei Dôgen Zenji (1200-1253), um dos mais importantes e destacados mestres da tradição Soto Zen. O objetivo é mostrar a riqueza dessa espiritualidade e sua peculiaridade de adesão à realidade cotidiana. Para favorecer a compreensão da questão central apresentada, visou-se situar a temática no âmbito do contexto histórico do nascimento do zen budismo e da inserção da presença de Dôgen em seu campo de ação. A temática da espiritualidade zen foi se evidenciando na abordagem da problemática da busca do Dharma em Dôgen e de sua atenção aos pequenos sinais do cotidiano. Palavras-Chave : Espiritualidade. Budismo. Zen. Cotidiano. Religiões. (shrink)
This paper addresses the ways that we can understand and transform our strong emotions and how this project contributes to moral and spiritual development. To this end, I choose to think with two Tibetan Buddhist thinkers, both of whom take up the question of how passionate emotions can fit into spiritual and moral life: the famous, playful yogin Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol (1781–1851) and the wandering, charismatic master Patrul Rinpoche (1808–1887). Shabkar's The Autobiography of Shabkar provides excellent examples of using (...) one's own passionate emotions to connect to others and gain insight into the world. Patrul Rinpoche's The Words of My Perfect Teacher (kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) focuses on passionate empathy with the emotions of others. Drawing on these texts, I present a (distinctly Buddhist) conception of a passionate life and argue that passionate emotional experience is a central part of moral and spiritual development more broadly construed. (shrink)
Cresp, Mary Some months ago while driving I heard an interview with writer Alan Moore on the radio and was so captured by his comments about trends in modern society that I had to pull over to the side of the road and stop to concentrate on what he was saying. I ordered his book, No Straight Lines, and found he presents an inspiring plea for a more human-centric world, more able organisations and more vibrant and equitable economies relevant to (...) the world we live in today. His descriptions so correspond with my experience that, although the changes in ReligiousLife over the past fifty years are often seen as something that occurred only in church circles, I conclude that they are part of a world-wide search for ways to serve humanity better, to search for meaning in the work people do and to find viable alternatives for the ways that things were done in the past. Because my immediate experience of ReligiousLife is confined to the Sisters of St Joseph, my comments are framed around that experience. However, through interaction with members of other Congregations, I know their journey parallels that of Josephites in many respects. (shrink)
This article develops the concept of experiential careers, drawing theoretical attention to the routinization and de-routinization of specific experiences as they unfold over social career trajectories. Based on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in two religious communities, we compare the social-temporal patterning of religious experience among newly religious Orthodox Jews and converted Muslims in two cities in the United States. In both cases, we find that as newly religious people work to transform their previous bodily habits and (...) take on newly prescribed religious acts, the beginning of their religious careers becomes marked by what practitioners describe as potent religious experiences in situations of religious practice. However, over time, these once novel practices become routinized and religious experiences in these situations diminish, thus provoking actors and institutions in both fields to work to re-enchant religiouslife. Through this ethnographic comparison, we demonstrate the utility of focusing on experiential careers as a sociological unit of analysis. Doing so allows sociologists to use a non-reductive phenomenological approach to chart the shifting manifestations of experiences people deeply care about, along with the patterned enchantments, disenchantments, and possible re-enchantments these social careers entail. As such, this approach contributes to the analysis of social careers and experiences of “becoming” across both religious and non-religious domains. (shrink)
From about the fourth to the tenth century Buddhist monks in China engaged in formal, semi-public, religious disputation. I describe the Indian origins of this disputation and outline its settings, procedures, and functions. I then propose that this disputation put its participants at risk of performative contradiction with Buddhist tenets about language and salvation, and I illustrate how some chinese Buddhists attempted to transcend these contradictions, subverting disputation through creative linguistic and extra- linguistic strategies.
This article explores the autobiographical writings of Western monks living in Thailand in the light of scholarship on modern and Western Buddhism to understand their constructions of Buddhism. I explore Western monks' understanding of Buddhism before leaving for Thailand, their experiences of integrating into Thai Buddhism, and their lives after returning to their home countries. Their constructions consist of Buddhism as a scientific, rational tradition focused on the practice of meditation. These constructions are challenged during (...) monastic life in Thailand and further problematized when reintegrating into their home countries. I find that they encounter challenges incorporating monasticism into Western countries and may choose lay life?reflecting the trend of laicization in Western Buddhism. I conclude that their constructions of Buddhism conceived in Western countries affect their experiences in Thailand and afterwards. (shrink)
Characteristically religious ethical systems consist of much more than a morality: that is, much more than judgments marked by serious societal pressure and the appropriateness in offenders of a sense of moral guilt. Religious ethics characteristically demands also control and modification of thoughts and desires. This supra-moral element is prominent in Buddhism, where it flourishes primarily in the "Samgha". The ethics of Buddhism can be understood only by means of a concept of the supra-moral.
Challenging a long-standing assumption of the separation of ethical from poetic activity, this essay develops the basis for a theory of moral life as inherently and radically creative. A range of contemporary post-Kantian ethicists--including Ricoeur, Nussbaum, Kearney, and Gutiérrez--are employed to make the argument that moral practice requires a fundamental capability for creative transformation, imagination, and social renewal. In addition, this poetic moral capability can finally be understood only from the primordial religious point of view of the mystery (...) of Creation as such. Humanity as an image of its Creator is called to the endless impossible possibility of the re-creation of its own complex, plural, and fallen social world. Such a perspective is opposed to views of moral life as the application of law-like principles or the recovery of past moral histories. Without a better understanding of moral life's radically creative imperative, we miss a vital element of social relations' distinctive humanity. (shrink)
This article looks at the ways in which globalization and modernization have led to a number of changes in Buddhism. These include both the cultures in which it is practiced as well as the form that this practice takes. One consequence of existing within new cultures is that a religion that has been the majority faith for over 1000 years in many Asian countries is now a minority faith in the West. This study tests the hypothesis that religious (...) doctrinal differences are relative and the borders between religious organizations are malleable. In order to overcome inherent difficulties in studying small atypical organizations, these analyses rely on new methodological techniques by building on the internet and website links as a sociological tool. This study examines the use of websites by American Buddhists, both to determine the networks they are part of and what content they use. Comparisons are drawn to the similarities between American Buddhism as a small foreign religion and independent non-denominational Christian congregations. Consequences for studying Buddhism and future avenues of research involving the internet are discussed. (shrink)
This essay seeks to contribute to our understanding of William James's ethics by reexamining a classic text— The Varieties of Religious Experience—that is not usually read in an ethical light. It shows that James develops an ethics of human flourishing in Varieties, which he grounds in a "piecemeal supernaturalist" cosmology and account of human nature. It also shows that, under the terms of James's view, religious and ethical issues are fundamentally interconnected, and leading a religiouslife (...) is a necessary (though not a sufficient) condition of maximal human flourishing. Overall, I show that for James the highest degree of human flourishing can be achieved only through the experience of metaphysical intimacy, or the self's harmonious relationship or unification with "a wider self.". (shrink)
Damien and John Keown claim that there is important common ground between Buddhism and Christianity on the issue of euthanasia and that both traditions oppose it for similar reasons in order to espouse a "sanctity of life" position. I argue that the appearance of consensus is partly created by their failure to specify clearly enough certain key notions in the argument: particularly Buddhism, euthanasia and the sanctity of life. Once this is done, the Keowns' central claims (...) can be seen to be either false or only restrictedly true. (shrink)
In Science and Religious Anthropology: A Spiritually Evocative Naturalist Interpretation of Human Life, Wesley J. Wildman has awakened work in religious anthropology to a new day and a new kind of light. No one who works in religious anthropology, or in religion and science studies more generally, should be taken seriously who has not read, digested, and contended with Wildman’s work. Indeed, if one is looking for an education in genuine interdisciplinarity, in rigorous scholarly analysis and (...) argumentation, and in the ways in which academic theology, religious studies, and the scientific study of religion can mutually inform one another, Wildman’s book is the ideal school. Wildman carefully analyzes, creatively .. (shrink)
Background and Aims The prevalence of religious faith among doctors and its relationship with decision-making in end-of-life care is not well documented. The impact of ethnic differences on this is also poorly understood. This study compares ethnicity and religious faith in the medical and general UK populations, and reports on their associations with ethically controversial decisions taken when providing care to dying patients. Method A postal survey of 3733 UK medical practitioners, of whom 2923 reported on the (...) care of their last patient who died. Findings Specialists in care of the elderly were somewhat more likely to be Hindu or Muslim than other doctors; palliative care specialists were somewhat more likely to be Christian, religious and ‘white’ than others. Ethnicity was largely unrelated to rates of reporting ethically controversial decisions. Independently of speciality, doctors who described themselves as non-religious were more likely than others to report having given continuous deep sedation until death, having taken decisions they expected or partly intended to end life, and to have discussed these decisions with patients judged to have the capacity to participate in discussions. Speciality was independently related to wide variations in the reporting of decisions taken with some intent to end life, with doctors in ‘other hospital’ specialities being almost 10 times as likely to report this when compared with palliative medicine specialists, regardless of religious faith. Conclusions Greater acknowledgement of the relationship of doctors' values with clinical decision-making is advocated. (shrink)
I. THE ORIGINS OF THE COMPLEMENTARITY CONCEPT IN SECULAR AND RELIGIOUS UNIVERSALISMa) Keywords, categoriesb) G. McLean: the emergence of philosophical and social complementarity from the Polish dialogue and Solidarityc) Secularity open to all human dimensions including the sacral (the structure of religious values approved not ontologically but on the ethical and cultural plane)d) The Catholicism of John Paul from Cracow and Rome as realistic global and dialogue-based universalisme) Laborem Exercens—source of modern universalismf) “John Paul II’s ‘Labour Manifesto’ and (...) universal society visiong) Sacrality as the highest form of recognitionII. DŁUGIE NARODZINY I KSZTAŁTOWANIE SIĘ SEKULARYZMU [LAICYZMU?] HUMANISTYCZNEGO I PRZEŁOM – KU UNIWERSALIZMOWI, KOMPLEMENTARNYM AKCEPTOWANIEM SEKULARNOŚCI I SAKRALNOŚCIa) Narodziny dialogu z ducha Polskiego Października: od tylko ekskluzji do „dialogu przeciwieństw” b) Laicyzm, a nie ateizm, czyli uznanie pluralizmu za cenę obojętności: ideologia „naszej małej stabilizacji”c) Kontrpartner światopoglądowy jako sojusznik w praktyce społecznejd) Współpraca międzynarodowa jako inspiracja najszersza i ‘parasol ochronny’e) Patriotyzm jako ‘religia obywatelska’ oraz jako mediatyzacja materializmu i chrześcijaństwaIII. KU NOWEMU ETAPOWI UNIWERSALIZMU, RODZĄCEGO SIĘ Z KOMPLEMENTARNOŚCI I SYNERGIIa) Nazwy, problemyb) Synopsis i aktualizacjac) Kolejny etap eksperymentalnej realizacji projektu UW D&UThe present issue of Dialogue and Universalism is exceptional in that it marks out a new phase—not only for our periodical, but also the historical path it attempts to illuminate—and at times even co-create.In fact, similarly as Plato’s great concept, this can be well expressed by one idea, an idea that in its unique, mutually penetrating relation to existence is at once a summary and an illumination. An idea which, like the Sun, brings out diffused things and facts from the darkness of fragmentary, in a sense undeveloped and almost empty existence and the absurdity of mutually-destructive objects, events and people.Yes—this idea is a path leading away from absurdity and the logical, or, rather, ontological partiality and particularism (hence, in a sense, social meaninglessness) of mutually-destructive and mutually-degrading “incomplete existences”.It is, of course, no new idea—it is present in the history of philosophy, anthropology and biology, and in quantum mechanics: complementarity. However, thanks to the penetrating visions of George McLean, this idea now appears in a new role—putting it most simply (if somewhat impoverishingly): as an instrument enabling comprehension of society, including human relations, over history. This, however, will only be possible if we rise above fact—and even regularity—towards the essence of life and history in their most all-embracing sense. In other words, towards the essence of existence, history and the world. And the key to this will be our understanding and application of complementarity.Complementarity in the here-proposed understanding emerges from the historical process and historical theory as a unique form of maturity, a synthesis bearing the most precious intellectual and moral values for all sides involved in co-creating it. (shrink)
In this paper I suggest that near-death experiences (NDEs) provide a rational basis for belief in life after death. My argument is a simple one and is modeled on the argument from religious experience for the existence of God. But unlike the proponents of the argument from religious experience, I stop short of claiming that NDEs prove the existence of life after death. Like the argument from religious experience, however, my argument turns on whether or (...) not there is good reason to believe that NDEs are authentic or veridical. I argue that there is good reason to believe that NDEs are veridical and that therefore it is reasonable to believe in the existence of what they seem to be experiences of, namely, a continued state of consciousness after the death of the body. I will then offer some comments on the philosophical import of NDEs, as well as reflections on the current state of contemporary philosophy in light of the neglect of this phenomenon. (shrink)
In South Asia, the period between 1100 and 1300 CE was a particularly prolific time for theorists from India's three main indigenous religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism - to articulate their views on the face-to-face gift encounter. Their gift theories shaped a cosmopolitan sensibility that shared ethical and aesthetic values that reached across regional, sectarian, and religious boundaries. This book explores the ethical and social implications of unilateral gifts of esteem, offering a perceptive guide to the uniquely (...) South Asian contributors to theoretical work on the gift. (shrink)
O processo de desenvolvimento da história (e demais ciências) das religiões, com objeto e metodologia próprios, pode ser analisado por meio das discussões que aprofundaram as relações entre a defesa do caráter racionalista do homem ocidental e a persistência de formas religiosas de expressão no transcorrer dos séculos XIX e XX (bem como neste início de século XXI). Por meio do estudo da história da teologia e das religiões, são estabelecidos critérios para o julgamento das convergências entre movimentos religiosos, também (...) de suas especificidades, aqui discutidos à luz de pressupostos subjacentes em obras de Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) e Mircea Eliade (1907-1986). A escolha dos autores se justifica pelo fato de representarem, cada qual a seu modo, estágios teórico-analíticos no desenvolvimento das ciências das religiões que abarcam o conflito entre racionalismo ocidental e formas religiosas. Pelo que guardam de semelhança ou contradição, especialmente pela presença do sagrado em sua argumentação, os três autores vêm a confirmar uma suspeita (do religioso) ou hipótese (do cientista): a religião persiste. Palavras-chave: Ciências da Religião. Teologia. Émile Durkheim. Rudolf Otto. Mircea Eliade.The process of the development of History (and other sciences) of Religions, with its object and methodology, can be analyzed by the discussions that deepened the relations between the defense of the rationalist character of the western man and the persistence of religious forms of expression in the 19th and 20th centuries (as well as in the beginning of the 21th century). Studying the History of Theology and of Religions, the criteria for the judgment of the convergences within religious movements can be established, as well their specificities, discussed here under the subjacent ideas found in Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) and Mircea Eliade (1907-1986). The selection of these authors can be justified by the fact that they represent each one on his own way, the theoretical analytical stages in the development of the Sciences of Religions that enclose the conflict between western rationalism and religious forms. Considering what they have in common and in contradiction, especially for the presence of the holy in their argumentation, the three authors confirm a suspicion (of the religious man) or a hypothesis (of the scientist): the religion persists. Keywords: Sciences of Religion. Theology. Émile Durkheim. Rudolf Otto. Mircea Eliade. (shrink)
... Introduction to Buddhist Tantra Tantra forms the esoteric basis of all major religions. It stands for the awakening of dormant divinity. It is a mystic technique to invoke the spirituality of man and woman.
Anne Warfield Rawls argues that, although Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religion is the crowning achievement of his sociological accomplishments, it has been consistently misunderstood. Rather than a work on primitive religion or the sociology of knowledge, Rawls asserts that Durkheim's analysis represents an attempt to establish a unique epistemological basis for the study of sociology and moral relations. Based on detailed analysis of the primary text, this book will be an important and original contribution to contemporary debates on social (...) theory and philosophy. (shrink)